The Project Manager Blog

98

Managing a Request for Proposal

To most businesspeople, RFP stands for Request for Proposal. This is when a company submits requirements and specifications about a project to multiple companies to bid on. The company will then award the job to the most appealing proposal based on price, time, quality, and adherence to their requirements. Notice I said that RFP stands for Request for Proposal to most businesspeople. To me, RFP stands for Ready for Panic! Here’s why… An RFP typically comes in to a salesperson. Eventually, they get around to looking at the details, but it may sit in their inbox for a day or two or even u...
53

Enhancing Project Planning with Social Media

Watch this project management training video to discover how you can enhance project planning with social media. ...
84

The Perfect PM Job Interview

Playing piano well requires a great deal of practice. It’s rare that someone can sit down in front of a keyboard of 88 black and white keys and make anything meaningful come from it without having spent some serious time studying theory and learning how to play. Now, there are exceptions to the rule; small children have been known to climb onto the piano bench and hammer out a Bach or Beethoven classic with relatively little introduction to either composer. However, those incidents are few and far between, as few amongst us are actually prodigies. Most people have to dedicate years of pra...
69

4 Steps to Prevent your Projects from Stalling

When we hear the term stall we usually think about a motor vehicle that stops running while we’re driving it. While there’s no good time for a car to stall, there’s nothing worse than stalling while changing lanes in the middle of rush hour traffic on a busy interstate. Actually, come to think of it, there is something worse: a plane that stalls mid-flight. An aerodynamic stall is a bit different, in that it’s not that the engines give out (which is pretty bad as well), it’s that the lift that is necessary to keep the plane in the air is no longer there. This is caused when the an...
68

Things Are Not Always What they Appear to Be

I thought I was doing a pretty good job as a project manager. I was responsible for managing projects for our company’s flagship accounts plus a number of smaller projects as they came up. I had never received anything other than a ‘1’ (the best ranking) on my employee performance reviews for many years. Our clients were quiet and happy, there were no issues surrounding the other projects, and things seemed to be going just fine. That was until I received an instant message, completely out of the blue from someone I didn’t expect. I was in the middle of a conference call with one of...
71

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Your Project Documents

“Where can I find the Project Charter?” one of my project team members asked the other day. “And have you got a template for a business case? One of my mentoring group wants to write one and I said not to bother to do it from scratch and that I would ask you first.” I’m glad that my project team have taken the same approach as I have to project documents. In other words, we use the phrase that has been adopted by environmental groups: reduce, reuse, recycle. The best way to streamline the overhead for project management documentation is to not spend so much time on it! And the ...
64

Project Dashboards

Using project dashboards and project software can help you be more effective as a project manager. Watch this short training video to learn more... ...
91

Project Quality Management 101

How do you know if your project is going well? You have a good project schedule, robust risk management, a happy, well-motivated project team and a supportive project sponsor. But nothing on projects is guaranteed! Even the best project managers, running the most effective project management processes struggle sometimes, and that’s where quality management can help. Quality management is a set of processes and activities that is designed to assess projects and help them (and the project manager) succeed. Quality processes include a number of techniques that you might have heard of, such a...
78

How To Make Life Easier for a Project Sponsor

I have worked with a lot of project sponsors over the years, and one thing I always ask them when I start working on a project is, “What do you want me to do for you?” This little question allows me to start a discussion about how the project sponsor wants to receive project reports and other communications, how they want to find out about status, whether they want to be copied in on certain messages or whether they basically want me to leave them alone unless I have a problem that I can’t solve myself. I’ve asked lots of sponsors this question, and they have all said different t...
54

Are You Doing a Good Job

How do you know whether you are doing a good job? Normally, that means relying on your line manager or project sponsor to point out where you could be doing better, or saying thank you for a job well done. Most companies operate a performance review process which relies on the individual and their manager setting targets at the beginning of the year and then following this up towards the end of the year by checking how you have done against the targets. All of these methods, though, are just one person giving you feedback: and it is normally your boss. There is a better way to get feedback,...
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